9 things you will never find at airports again

Who remembers meeting your loved ones at the gate?

Image: Parade

You either have a love-hate relationship with air travel. For some people, going to the airport means adventure and new opportunities. For others, it means long lines and delays. 

There's one thing we can all agree on, however. Air travel looks nothing like it used to. Harsher regulations, heightened security concerns and higher prices have transformed airports into something completely different. Some changes are for the better, others are hard to accept (no more free peanuts?!). Here's how things have changed since the golden age of air travel.

1. Only using stairs

Remember the days when you had to walk outside and up a flight of stairs to board your aircraft? While smaller airlines and airports still do this, enclosed walkways (Jetways) are now more common. Delta Airlines provided the first Jetways in 1961 at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. 


2. Smoking

There was a time when smoking was acceptable in many public places, including airports. When the Surgeon General started warning the public about the dangers of cigarettes, airports began to slowly restrict where passengers could smoke. Today, only some airports allow smoking in sectioned-off rooms.


3. Meeting at the gate

Surprising someone when they landed by meeting them at the gate was one of the most romantic things you could do. It's been parodied plenty of times in movies and TV shows, but alas, it's a thing of the past. The closest you can get is the baggage claim, which is a little less romantic. 


4. Hare Krishnas

It's hard to imagine anyone handing out flowers at airports for donations nowadays, but that's what the religious sect did in the 1970s. It was so common, the popular comedy Airplane! spoofed the encounter in 1980. However, tougher security measures ultimately made it harder for them to approach passengers trying to get to their flights. 

Image: Paramount Pictures

5. Long lines for payphones

You can still find payphones in today's airports, but you won't find a long line of people waiting to use them. The lines today are most likely for the charging stations. 


6. Free food

What's the deal with (the lack off) airplane food? Back in the day, airlines generously handed out food to hungry travelers. Today, you're lucky to get a free pack of peanuts. While we're at it, what ever happened to free pillows and blankets? Those airplanes can get chilly!


7. Life insurance kiosks

At one point in time, life insurance kiosks dotted airports around the country in order to take advantage of nervous travelers. But when people slowly realized air travel wasn't as dangerous as they once thought, the kiosks went away.  


8. Coin operated TVs

What a difference a couple decades make. If you had a couple coins, you could sit back, relax, and watch TV while passing the time. Today, TVs are mounted everywhere. Not to mention you can do just about anything on a smart phone. 


9. Dressing Up

Remember when flying on a plane was an event? Your whole family would dress up in their Sunday finest just to sit on a plane for a few hours. Today, sweatpants and hoodies are what most people wear to be the most comfortable. 


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hyppymom 19 months ago
I miss those days. Flying somewhere was really an occasion. Now it's so strict and boring.
popeye 19 months ago
Yes i miss the old days of flight
M7Mayberry 20 months ago
There was an airline in California called PSA. They had flights every hour between LA and San Francisco. I could decide at the last minute to fly. I would show a credit card to the gate agent as the plane was about to leave. She would let me board. Once airborne, a stewardess would sell me a ticket.
Lacey 20 months ago
Free Food !!??!! I'd settle for a cup of coffee.
The last time I flew you got a soda and a very small bag of chips.
George57 20 months ago
I was just commenting to someone about getting dressed up to go to church. At one point the Pastor quipped "as long as they come to service". Nowadays it seems to be run more like a business.😔
KJExpress 20 months ago
I didn't fly until the late 70's, although I did fly on a PanAm shuttle from NYC to Boston once and we did the stairs and tarmac thing. But I fondly remember being able to go right to the gate. My dad had to go to New Mexico for months at a time back in 1971. It was so exciting to wait for him to get off the plane and see him come out of the "tunnel" into the gate. I miss those days. 😕
James9 20 months ago
If I can't drive there, I'm not going. Flying nowadays is too much of a hassle.
Catman 20 months ago
One more thing you'll never find at an airport again: me.
I remember when flying was fun.
I remember when airline personnel treated you as if you were a customer, and not a burden.
Pacificsun Catman 20 months ago
Your comments always make laugh (I mean when they're supposed to!!).
Peter_Falk_Fan 20 months ago
My first "Meeting at the gate" was in San Antonio for Basic Training. Never met any Hare Krishnas. My friend (a SF Giants fan) ran into Willie McCovey at the SF airport once.

I think of Greyhound bus depots when I hear "coin operated TVs".

I haven't flown in over 40 years. The last time I flew I had the hardest time getting my ears to pop. The pain was unbearable.
CaptainDunsel 20 months ago
Not TV but movies - the life insurance kiosks were a part of the plot of the movie original 1970 "Airport", IIRC. The bomber (Van Heflin as "D.O. Guerrero") bought a lot of flight insurance before boarding, with the intention of bringing down the plane over the Atlantic, leaving the insurance proceeds for his widow.
I believe that a kiosk was part of the Jimmy Stewart film "The F.B.I." Nick Adams (The Rebel) character buys some insurance for his mother who he saying goodbye to at the airport. He's also given her a gift she's not to open until later....a homemade bomb!
I always laugh a little (inside) when they ask you at the airport if anyone you don't know has asked you to take anything on board the aircraft. They SHOULD be asking if you've been asked by someone who knows you but doesn't like you! [grin]
vinman63 20 months ago
All 1960 shows showing Airplanes had TWAs.
Pacificsun vinman63 20 months ago
Did they ever show "Airplane" on an airplane (I'm serious). But too late I guess to be shown on TWA?
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 20 months ago
Not sure if they have ever shown "Airplane" on an airplane. But was surprised to see how well it did at the box office to other movies of the same year.
vinman63 Pacificsun 20 months ago
No we don't want to offend snow flakes.
ncadams27 20 months ago
Dressing up isn’t done much for anything these days. Although many ads, movies, and TV shows from the 50s and early 60s overdid the dressing up bit. Look at Leave It To Beaver, they dress up to go to a football game. Although when I was in school in the late 50s to early 60s, I would go with my Mom on the train to downtown Philly to shop at the big department stores and I had to wear a coat and tie.
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ncadams27 LoveMETV22 20 months ago
I also noticed that to about the football award episode, but I think it had more to do with peer pressure and him wanting to be like the other players. But how is it that he was the only one who didn’t realize the others were going to dress up? Just like the soup sign, class picture, and monster sweatshirts, Beaver was the only one stupid enough to do these things when everyone else knew better. But it wouldn’t be as funny if Whitey fell in the soup or Gilbert made the face on the class picture, or if Richard was the only one to wear the monster sweatshirt to class.
LoveMETV22 ncadams27 20 months ago
Yes, they often portrayed his character as the trusting type, it worked well in the storylines. A great show which hopefully always remains on MeTV's schedule.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 20 months ago
Beaver and his buddies didn’t want to dress up for a banquet, yet he would wear a suit to a game. Seems kind of odd. 🤔
ncadams27 19 months ago
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harlow1313 20 months ago
To quote the great Joni Mitchell,

...well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day...
Pacificsun 20 months ago
We used to buy airline insurance just for a particular flight, from a vending machine. My dad always thought the family would make quick money that way. He was not exactly an optimist anyway.
AgingDisgracefully 20 months ago
You also can no longer down a few pre-flight shots with your pilot. They've really gotten strict.
Michael AgingDisgracefully 20 months ago
The Toronto airport is talking about adding a marijuana store, though they have to get permission. That sounds dangerpus, "oops I forget to smoke it before going to the US". Poor Brittney Griner.
texasluva Michael 20 months ago
Only causes more problems as over drinking alcohol before flights. There are a select few that have problems when taking any kind of stimulants. If you bought marijuana at the airport where would you smoke it? Not inside the airport nor the plane. Rest rooms before boarding? Of course if you were leaving the airport to bring home would most likely be okay. We have seen so many wrestled to the floor and tied to seats by attendants and other fliers since the person is completely out of their minds. Maybe in the future they will require some to blow into a breathalyzer and if above .12 % then no go. I think driving is around .08 or?
texasluva Michael 20 months ago
I believe Brittney Griner was taken as a pawn. I will explain. When Russia started attack on Ukraine both the US, Europe and most of the world condemned them. Also with sanctions imposed and military help to Ukraine. I think Brittney brought the vapor stuff in the past and they just overlooked it because she was well regarded the the Russian Basketball League, teammates and fans. Once all this took place then Putin wanted to revenge some of the things the West has said and done. Regardless of what happened I do not wish anyone to spend 9 years in a Russian prison. What maybe should have happened they fine her and then depart Russia. Putin wishes to squeeze the US for whatever they can get. Hard to believe though that the world, UN or any country can do anything about the war attack situation. In the eyes of Putin they are still the Soviet Union. Not good!
MrsPhilHarris Michael 20 months ago
Yeah you would need to be careful if you were leaving the country.
MrsPhilHarris texasluva 20 months ago
The TO airport has designated smoking areas outside. That said not sure if I want to sit next to someone that stinks like weed. 🤔
daDoctah 20 months ago
It says there are 18 Comments, but below this box I'm invited to "Be the first to leave a comment!"

Let's see what happens.
ELEANOR 20 months ago
Back in the 50's, we took my grandmother to National Airport (Washington DC) to fly to, get this, Baltimore.
jeopardyhead ELEANOR 20 months ago
The irony being that there would eventually be an airport named Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
ncadams27 jeopardyhead 20 months ago
I know that flight. It uses the B-W parkway as a runway and never leaves the ground. I remember when I traveled a lot to the west coast out of BWI and many of my return flights were canceled. I was lucky to get to either National (which is actually in Virginia) or Dulles and take a shuttle.
texasluva 20 months ago
I can see there are 14 comments before my post but nothing below. It appears there is another problem this week with missing or only a few posts out of many. This appears on the newest quizzes and stories. On the older ones there are whole sections missing. This is only if you click on the above quiz or story. If you go there by way of notifications or your own personal feed, posts do appear.

Starting off on this story about airports. Things below that I remember.

1. Only using stairs- I do remember these long ago but what I remember most is a few of the sitting Presidents tumbling down them. Anyone remember any of them?

2. Smoking-I sure do remember smoking at the airports, airplane, bars and most anywhere one wished. I believe now they have non-smoking areas at most casinos. Other then that you really can not light up inside a public buildings.

3. Meeting at the gate. Now you have to be checked and re-checked so that only the passengers can get to the gate, sit and relax until boarding time. Some still carry weapons in carry on luggage. You would think they would no better---Nadda.

4. Hare Krishnas- Sure do remember them and the smell inside the airport. Hanging around singing or beating their gongs. Whatever their purpose was I soon forgot (like a minute later).

5. Remembering pay phones. You needed to use the them for a taxi (many outside), call your loved ones that you made it though I have not been to an airport to fly in 15+ years.

6. Free food- Do remember ordering food and or drink on long flights. A drink sure goes a long way to calm your nerves. Now days I do not think they should let any passengers aboard whom are intoxicated. It's The All About Me Era and some feel so entitled to have a ruckus or other serious problems. How many videos have we seen with unruly, fighting, cussing passengers. Too many-

7. Life insurance kiosks- These used to be all around the airport. Made you stop and think, what if? I can pay a few quarters for how much life insurance?

8. Coin operated TVs- Never seen coin operated ones on plane. usually had a screen up above or in the distances. Now you can just turn your Smart Phone on and have access to 500 different movies, shop on-line, read a book (you have 100 of those on SP), pay bills, listen to Classic Rock or even sleep to specialized music with buds or ear phones. Passes the time and you do not have to pay attention to the rest of the passengers. Are We There Already .

9. Dressing Up- Okay most did. They sure didn't wear the rear or leg jeans with holes in them, tank tops with some bars name on it or the R-Rated ones that wish to insult everyone. Some have even been thrown off for wearing quite revealing type clothing.

Next story should be the 10 best reasons why I (we) don't fly anymore---I bet some of you have great stories to tell. Now that I posted I will be able to see the other invisible posts
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jeopardyhead texasluva 20 months ago
Thank you. That was one of my first thoughts in response to the question, but I didn't know how to put it up here.
texasluva jeopardyhead 20 months ago
Download to PC or phone by save as= give it a name- on PC click upload a file below on right. When you see the item you wish to show then click it. It will come on the location area you are on and then post after you have commented. On Phone you just need to go to wherever it is located on a file tap it should post here also. Also inputting YT songs, scenes and others with the middle arrowed location below. You then put in the address above the YT video. Then click add then post once you see the location above is ready. Not sure how to exactly with Iphone since I own a android one. Easiest done with a PC though.
MrsPhilHarris texasluva 20 months ago
Up North you still walk out to board.
texasluva Moody 20 months ago
The Saturday Night Movie ----
Jurassic World-(2015)-Action--Adventure--Sci-fi-
Colin Trevorrow
Chris Pratt---Bryce Dallas Howard---Ty Simpkins---Vincent D'Onofrio
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